Senipr couple brushing their teeth

Dental Care for Seniors: Taking Care of Your Teeth As You Age

Seniors need to be vigilant about their overall health and dental health is no exception. If you don’t take care of your teeth and gums, it can lead to serious problems.

What are the most important ways for people over 60 years old to ensure healthy teeth and gums for life? Let’s take a look….

Be Aware of the Most Common Oral Health Problems

Do you know what causes some of the most common teeth problems? Food and drink are big culprits, as are smoking and consuming dark beverages. But the appearance of your pearly whites is just one issue.

Here are five common problems to be aware of, and tips on how to care for your teeth despite them.

1. Tooth Decay

Your teeth suffer a lot of wear and tear as the years roll on. This is a common problem most people face. The best and easiest thing to do is brush gently and floss often.

After every meal, keep your teeth and gums clean. If you can’t get to the bathroom for a thorough brushing, then make sure to rinse your mouth well with water. It’s recommended to brush your teeth at least twice a day, for two minutes each time. Ensure that your strokes are gentle so that your tooth enamel won’t wear away.

2. Tooth Loss

It’s normal to also suffer tooth loss as you age. If you have removable dentures, it’s essential to keep them clean. This is because bacteria can build up between your dentures. If not removed, that bacteria have a chance to penetrate deeper, past your gums and into your bloodstream. This can cause a number of health problems. Care for your dentures appropriately, to avoid an advanced form of oral illness called periodontal disease.

 

3. Dry Mouth Syndrome

Dry mouth is another dental issue you may experience. This can be due to respiration problems if the nasal passage is blocked and you have to breathe through your mouth often. Another cause of dry mouth is dehydration.

Lack of water can then lead to a dry mouth, bad breath, and other oral problems. Combat this by drinking plenty of water and ensuring proper liquid intake. Try herbal teas or fresh fruit juice. Just beware of the sugar in most juices and rinse your mouth well afterward.

4. Inflamed or Infected Gums

Bleeding or inflamed gums can be a sign of gum disease. If your teeth bleed after brushing, or your gums appear to be extra red, see a dentist. Gum disease is usually not painful in the early stages, but catching it before it gets worse is key to good health and healthy gums.

Additionally, you should floss daily. Flossing keeps your gum passages clear of unwanted bacteria. It may take extra time in your brushing routine, but the end results are worth it. This is one simple step you can take today to improve your oral hygiene routine. If you suspect that your gums are infected, talk to your dentist so you can find a solution immediately.

5. Discolored or Stained Teeth

Limiting your sugar intake is one sure way to help your teeth retain their white color. Same goes for carbonated soft drinks, red wine, and coffee. Alcohol and tobacco are also big culprits in staining teeth. Anything with a high amount of acidity will break down the enamel of your teeth, leaving them weak and more susceptible to breakage or discoloration.

Many citrus fruits are also high in acid content. The key is to eat certain types of foods and drinks in moderation. Quit smoking altogether if you want to combat teeth problems, and talk with your dentist about whitening options. Perhaps you can use a particular type of toothpaste for seniors, or go to your cosmetic dentist for a more permanent whitening solution.

6. Medication

 

Did you know that some types of medication can affect your teeth negatively? Check with your doctor before beginning new medications, he or she can counsel you.

 

You can arrange for your dentist to speak with your physician so that they can have their input when planning your course of medications. This is an option that some people who undergo treatments for bone cancer choose, enabling them to get the most out of the recommended medicine, while maintaining strong and healthy teeth and gums.

Contact Us

If you would like to know more about oral hygiene, visit us today at Your Dental Health Partners.

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